Denis Lukyanov Bulgakov became an anime. What happens to the classics? 06/29/2024, 08:01

The theater begins with a coat rack, the home library begins with the Soviet collection of classics. Ragged volumes with the same type of covers, strictly according to GOST and a price of a whopping ruble have become as integral a cultural model as tapestries on the wall or cookie jars full of spools of thread. However, in the last few years the book market has literally been flooded with numerous reprints of Russian and foreign classics for every taste. As if everything was back in the nineties, they published more and more of everything, but now the book market has closed in on itself and has begun to produce reprints one after another. And here you don’t even wave your hand and grumble: “Well, just like Orwell, the rights have finally become public property, the heirs no longer need to pay, so everyone rushed in…”. And what happened next?

It’s not possible to figure this out for sure, but we’ll do our best.

They once said that there would be no cinema or theatre, only television; the same was said for e-books; it was predicted that they would win the battle between genres. Can you imagine something more useful? However, it was very difficult to calculate consumer habits years ago (especially when it comes to literature), and the book turned out to be a work of art. It became something like shine. Despite the rapidly increasing prices (believe me, it’s scary to look even for publishing employees!), More and more souvenirs or just beautiful books appear: starting with simple color illustrations (when the edges of the pages are painted), ending with coated paper and velvet covers. It is important to hold such a publication in your hands, put it on the shelf and, at the very end, photograph it. The culture (not to mention the aesthetic) of print books is surprisingly on the rise, especially among teenagers and young adults. Does this affect the classics? Yes. Finally explain to him what’s going on?!

Some publishing houses start working only with design. Covers and interiors are drawn by popular web artists, and often they deliberately deviate from the style of the work: Mr. Hyde becomes the singer of a K-pop group, Grigory Pechorin leaves the cover of Vogue, and a bad apartment with all its inhabitants suddenly becomes Hayao Miyazaki’s shelter. One of the most popular and rich series with different designs is published by the publishing house “MYTH”. Such an attempt to rejuvenate the audience of classics sounds, of course, tempting, but in reality it fails: the cover will never be as deceptive as in this case. Still, we must make a reservation. If you create a whole ecosystem around the classics in a new package with podcasts, fascinating video shows and online materials, then all this will work comprehensively. Content, not design, creates lasting interest. But the “revival” of the classics is explained more by marketing interests than by the desire to develop a reading culture. And do not think that the publisher is a Scrooge McDuck, who only thinks about how to swim in a pool full of gold coins. In the realities of a market economy, any publishing house is, first of all, a business. It may not always be profitable. And many more people will buy a book with a beautiful design. Especially – here we recall the “LEGEND” again – if there are several parts republished for different audiences. The younger ones will want the illustrations of their favorite artist on the shelf. The older ones will buy a more strict but stylish design just for the collection.

But the boom in reprints isn’t just about design, as other publishing houses are also working with meaning. At Alpina.Proza, the classics series is partly a big pop science project (the team itself even calls these books “innovative” of sorts). Each publication here is supported by a foreword prepared by journalists and cultural experts, the authors of the “Shelf” project. And from the first few pages you can learn about the history of the creation of the work and its consequences without leaving the box office. In other words, renew the school and university curricula: remember what the names of all the landowners of “Dead Souls” mean and marvel at the productivity of Ilf and Petrov.

But between these two chairs lies an unexpected third: the growing culture of comics and graphic novels based on classic works. Most often these are adaptations, like modern film adaptations – a kind of real art objects, moreover, enriched with new meaning (one of the most beautiful Dorian Grays recently released from Corominas). After all, any “holding on” is an attempt to understand the established plot in a different way, to look at it from an unusual angle. The artist conveys his vision of the classics and sometimes unconsciously – if we are not talking about commercial orders – attracts a new audience to the original. It is also worth paying attention to illustrated biographies of Silver Age poets. This is slowly becoming a new trend.

So what really happened? Are publishers running out of money? Have they decided that it’s time to teach young people to be smart? Or have you decided to publish a new round of meaning? Neither one, nor the other, nor the third. The modern world requires maximum variety and convenience in everything – so even a regular web browser can be adapted to suit you – and the world of books is no exception. After all, it’s much more pleasant to choose from ten different design options than to read a tattered volume for the hundredth time for a ruble and twenty kopecks. Let it become a kind of pattern.

And in general. Trends come and go, but classics remain until they decide to rewrite them. Or ban them. But that, as they say, is a completely different story.

PS: So who said Pushkin wouldn’t approve of “Dubrovsky” in the anime style? My instincts tell me I’ll approve of this. Too much. I would definitely brag.

The author expresses his personal opinion, which may not coincide with the position of the editors.

What are you thinking?

Source: Gazeta


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